Summer Update- Migraines Gone?

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It's been a while since I've posted, mostly because I have been busy. Busy is good because it means less trouble! But there is always time for trouble too. I dipped back into my old habits for a while, and, like always, it was painful. But I am on the upswing again and trying to keep focused. What a world of difference between how I feel when I am in the thick of my addiction and when I have some freedom from it. It's way too easy to forget.

This summer has been challenging, but will make it through. I am feeling some stress for finals this week, but am prepared. Of course, my trusty old technique of getting through finals: no O! It's been nearly 3 weeks since my last O and I have been attending SLAA meetings here and there. My relationship with my fiance remains good. She is far away, so we skype, but we support each other in any way we can. It's a good time to focus on my sobriety and school anyhow. It's possible I could be going to Burma to stay with her over the Winter holidays.

My withdrawals were pretty hefty this time around. It had been a while since I cut out cold turkey. I will say that the emotional withdrawals are always the worst for me anyways. I was at work, and I could say no right thing. My lack of confidence made me weak, I said the wrong things to my supervisor, it was a mess. I've been performing better in my work lately, so maybe that will help, but it has been a pretty nasty couple of weeks as far as dealing with people. But there is no convenient time for this and I must be out in the open, exposed and all. It is certainly not an option to (hide and recover).

But something remarkable has happened this summer as well. My physical withdrawals used to be like clockwork with my recovery. I would have migraines to the point where it would interfere with my work/school. I saw a doctor a while back and she gave me a prescription, but I didn't take it, I just kept it around. Well, at the start of the summer, just after finals, I was expecting an enormous migraine and sure enough it came. Then a few weeks later, it did it again, right when I was dealing with some things related to my thesis and applications to a program. So I did some research into migraines and found that very low daily doses of this medicine that I was prescribed a while back was effective in preventing migraines. So I started taking my medicine and since, nearly 2 months ago, I have not had a migraine, even during the withdrawals. This has been a tremendous asset for me trying to get work done. Before, I would expect 3-4 days of not being able to perform. If this happens 2 times a month, there is a big problem as far as performance is concerned! I couldn't function like that any longer. I wish I had followed the doctor's prescription when she gave it to me a couple of years ago, but sometimes we do not make these connections until much later.

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Thanks

I'll put that on my book list.

Finals are finished and I have a little bit more free time. I'm catching up on some podcasts and things at work. I have been having some cravings, I think because I had a nocturnal emission the other night and because it's just 25 days away from PMO (well, slipped a couple of times on the porn). I am just trying to stay busy and keep a regular schedule. One good thing about this medicine is that it is allowing for a normal sleep schedule. I can't remember the last time I have had this. I actually go to bed at 11 and wake up in the morning. Over the past month, this has increased my productivity and focus tremendously. I've always suspected that sleep was a problem for me, and the cause of lack of focus throughout the day, but after having decent sleep for a little while- what a difference.

Today, it felt like my headache was trying to come back. I got this sensation in my stomach, felt tired, foggy, etc. This is usually the combination of sensations before a migraine comes on. I've been in this steady state for most of the day. I am hoping that it does not "tip" over into headache and I am trying to focus on things that are productive or relaxing. It is typical for me to get a headache in the days following finals, but I held steady throughout finals and did not binge on anything to "get the job done". I usually pay for it for days afterwards. I think the stress plays a role too. Hopefully this will not be an issue.

I'm having a couple of ongoing triggering events right now as well. Even though my fiance is away, I have been in correspondence with a couple of women. One that I dated last year and the other is a classmate. The one I dated triggers me sexually and the thought of her is compelling. I flirt with the idea of a fling, although I have the full intention of hiding my engagement status and pretty much just using her. The other girl is kind of the same- I have not told her that I am engaged. I really just want to be friends with her, but she seems like she is starting to become interested in me. My addict wants to use her too. Both situations are triggering and have the possibility of leading to a lot of stress, secrets, and the eventual full on acting out sequence to deal withe the conflicting feelings. (Well, I am might as well just go out and have anonymous sex instead of hurting everybody's feelings...) It's a dangerous path.

I do not want to do this. Even though my partner will not find out, I would hate it if my partner did that to me. I should probably plug back into the SLAA meetings this week and connect with some healthy guys.

But it feels good to put these feelings on paper. It's good to have this outlet. Journaling has been put by the wayside for a while, but when in trouble, pick up one of the many tools I have learned over the past years. There are plenty of them! Probably make a phone call to someone in the recovery community. I also have an old friend who is recovering from alcohol, so he is good to talk to too.

Close

I was close to having a migraine, and maybe I did while I was asleep. I dont know. I did have bad dreams, one after the other, last night. I woke up with the same feeling and a slight headache, but it never fully "tipped over" into a painful and dreary event, thankfully. I have an emergency pill my doctor prescribed in addition to the migraine prophylaxis, but I have not needed it. I did take a couple of Aleves and I was straight after that.

I am feeling a little restless and in a bad mood tonight. Well lately in general. I know I'm in this at about 26 days, which is the longest I have done in over a year I believe. My last acting out sequence was a good length of time too, so I would expect a rough period emotionally for a while. I have a couple of glimpses here and there, but overall cloudy. It may have to do with finals last week and coming off the stress from that.

Par tof my pain tonight probably has to do with grieving a loss of my addiction. As much as I hate to have it, it has filled a niche. Weird as it sounds, it gave me something to think about and to do. Have nothing to do- compulsively do everything! I am grieving that strategy and the new roads in my mind have not had long enough to establish. I remember feeling this way several times in when trying to abstain and recover in the past.

It's fine, I can accept this dip for now. As long as I have those short glimpses of sanity and they get longer and more frequent, then I can get through this. One thing is for sure- I have not had any major major urges lately. I haven't had the super compelling fantasies that last for a while. Maybe something enters and exits my head every once in a while, but nothing lasting long.

As for my addictive phase the last few months- I could have performed better in my program, but I did pretty well and maintained. I have had periods in my academic past where I just bombed. Not this time. I maintained. I did not thrive, but maintained. I have another semester left that I hope to thrive in and I have applied to another program on campus and if I get into it, then I hope to thrive in that. I did mess up a couple of relationships with colleagues and professors because of my addiction, but I also maintained some good ones. I've been on the brink of a deteriorating one lately, and the emotional/mental withdrawals in combination with finals, and uncertainty of acceptance into this other program have put a strain on it, but I have time to work with it.

haha

Are you saying my harem is all virtual? I've graduated- I've moved on to real women. Classmates, strip clubs, etc. But what gets me in trouble is all the ruckus that goes on in my head, so it is pretty much virtual.

No indeed,

I know you've always been a "real" guy too. I was just getting at the 'grieving for addiction' point. Plus, I love that guy's writing, so I use any excuse to share it. Wink

A month of no PMO

Haven't done this in a long time. Well, I peeked at porn maybe 3 times in the first couple of weeks, but no O for sure.

I have been feeling a little off though. I've been acting a little strange and I'm feeling sensitive and moody. Socially off, a little resentful too. Also, scattered in general.

On the other hand, I feel steady in some important ways and I definitely do not feel like I am in the middle of a whirlwind of semi-functional addiction chaos. Any day in recovery is better than a day in acting out. I knew I would expect some rough days. It is always the mental/emotional part of withdrawals that are always the worst for me.

I remember one time when I managed to go about 60 days, it was around this time that I flatlined and my performance in school and work dipped. Was I more in control? For sure. I just did not have the umph. I am feeling similarly. Feeling more control, but rigid and uncreative in my thinking. I will get glimpses of clarity and sanity, but they have been few and far between.

I feel a little noisy and scattered right now. High-energy, scattered, but also a little dreary.

I felt like my co-workers were cold and distant with me today, I suspected the worst. A little paranoia I think. I am not connecting with people and feel like pushing people away. However, I have been steady in not making any splashes around the office and keeping things "clean" as much as I can. I am not reacting in any dramatic way, although I am feeling a lot of turmoil inside. That is hard to keep control of, but I've managed. Like there is a co-worker that is getting all of the praise and she is desperately seeking it. She is competitive with me, is dismissive, and a little childish. She seems very motivated to outdo me right now. And she is getting all the praise. In the meantime, it feels like my supervisors are finding things wrong in my work that aren't there, like they are expecting it, even though it is pretty good. I am quiet, don't speak much, not assertive in meetings. I am just not in a space where I feel like doing all of this, I feel like kind of hiding and taking care of things. She is picking up on this and being extra assertive and attention-grabbing. And why do my supervisors go with this? I'm not sure.

I've had a couple of painful nights emotionally. Tension and embarrassment is the best I can describe it. I remember these feelings being associated with rage in the past.

My urges have reduced over the past couple of days. Less fantasies, less urges saying "do it!". Glad to be past that hump. My energy is really not that bad. It feels like too much energy in some ways, but it is not very calm. When I am calm, I like this level of energy, but the tension can be painful.

Despite all of this, I was just accepted into a biology program at my same school, so I am excited about this. It starts this semester and I will be in both programs as I complete my thesis. This has been a good moment, I feel relief because now I have a steady plan for the next couple of years. Also, when I first came to this program I was still in a bit of fog and I had no idea about anything in grad school. I performed well in this program, but I did not seize as many opportunities as I could have. I did apply myself a lot. But having the professional and academic experience going into this program should make for an enjoyable experience. A lot of work, but rewarding. I will seek more help from mentors. I want to enjoy this experience sober this time. I have a partner, we have a plan, we both want to succeed and I want to move forward with my career/education. I did pretty well unsober, I will do REAL well sober!

It feels like I spend hours just taking care of myself each night. I guess that is what I need right now while in this haze. I remember this period as being a long drawn out dip. A month of blah with small glimpses of clarity. Not only can I do this, but I want to. I want to more than I want to act out. That is how I am feeling about this. I something valuable more than I want the stripclub. Excuse me, I mean bootyclub as they call it down here in the south.

Congratulations

on your acceptance. Paranoia can play nasty tricks. Don't make anything real unless you're sure it's real. As soon as you bounce back you'll see things differently. When do you see your sweetie again?

Thanks

These thoughts aren't so unusual during a dip. The bewildering thought during this phase is that it just feels like something is fundamentally wrong, but can't put a finger on it. You're not acting out, but you don't feel too well. That's hard for the mind to deal with. You want a way to do with a hard week and you feel deserving for it too.

I used to keep good records of the time I was sober- days, weeks, months. I am glad that I did. Occasionally, I will go back and look at my entries around the same day and it helps to remind me how I was feeling. A lot of similarities to these feelings- the confusion, the dips, but also better control. Like I feel these weird thoughts, but I am not acting on them.

I will be seeing her for winter break in December. It will be a good reward. I have never been out of the country and I need a big reality-changing experience like this. I am most excited about meeting the people. The people in that culture are just plain nice!

Maintaining a long distance relationship

Ouch. 4 1/2 months of being apart. That can be hard.

How can you maintain the bond while you are apart?

In this forum, people say that porn fantasy - playing porn scenes in your mind - is almost as bad as "real" porn videos, because the mind can't tell the difference. Well, if the mind can't tell the difference, wouldn't "snuggling fantasy" be almost the same as real-life snuggling and bonding behaviors in its soothing effect? In my experience, it is.

During a period when my goddess and I were apart, I would crawl into bed and call her. We would talk for hours, then, when we ran out of things to talk about, or I got tired, I'd suggest "Let's enjoy some silence." I'd imagine holding her in my arms, and we'd just listen to each other breathe. I swear it felt like the real thing. I suspect a lot of oxytocin was produced that way.

Can you find a cheap way to talk long distance? Maybe Skype or Google Talk or some other free internet phone service? [edit: oh, I see in your first post that you are already using Skype. Good! Often, I hope.]

You probably know by now that avoiding MO helps minimize the cravings. So avoiding MO should actually help you get through this time of being apart.

Does she have a cell phone, so you can call her anytime? Next time you get hit with cravings or an urge to act out, why not call her and tell her about it? That should give her a better understanding of the struggles you are going through - as well as giving you some more strength to stay in control of yourself.

If you can stay strong and not act out while you two are apart, won't you feel proud and happy to see her when you get back together?

Meeting her family

Rock hasn't expressed any apprehension about meeting his fiancee's family, but this seems like a good opportunity to say something anyway:

Don't worry about meeting your fiancee's family. If you show that you cherish her and will take good care of her, they will welcome you with open arms. I imagine that applies to any culture, anywhere in the world. Her family just cares that she will be treated well.

My in-laws are wonderful. We lived a few blocks apart for five years. I feel fully accepted as part of their family. My wife's mother and father helped take care of our kids when we had them. Mother-in-law jokes definitely don't apply in my case.

Marriage

That is a good idea. We are officially going to get engaged when I visit her and do the marriage down the road. But we also need to get her back over here too. She has to fulfill some requirements with her country, so she has to be there for 2 years mandatory. That is our time frame right now.

No mother in law jokes, her family in general is excited and I really look forward to hanging out with them. They are excited about showing me around the country. I can't wait.

Two years apart?

Are you planning to be mostly apart for two years? Wow, you are certainly challenging yourself!

Can you arrange with your university to study abroad for a semester, in Burma? Then, if you like it there, you could probably arrange to extend your stay for a year.

Google "jobs in Burma" - it shows a bunch of stuff. If nothing else, you could teach English. You won't get rich, but you could probably support yourself that way.

Suggestions

Thanks CF for the helpful suggestions on this. These are all very good and this will help me get through. I have naturally been turning my attention to her when I start to want to act on my impulses. I think of her and how I care for her. It really does make a difference. If I felt shamed, then I would likely go for it, but I see it as a trade off for something greater. It's easier to sacrifice those activities in that context.

I went out tonight with that friend. I want her as a friend and I treated as a friend tonight, but it is obvious that she likes me. I feel like it is cruel to keep hanging out with her without telling her that I am engaged. I haven't found the right way to bring it up in conversation, but I really need to. It is turning into me leading her on. It feels manipulative. Plus, I am intrigued by the opportunities of sex and playing around with that is just not good right now in my state. My addict mind was trying to rationalize a strip club tonight because it would hurt no one and I would not have to hurt my fiancé or this girl. Of course this is just nonsense in my brain, but it can be compelling. I shot it down pretty quick and kept driving on home. Right past the neon bootyclub signs and all.

I like myself a lot more when I am sober. Better things come out of my mouth and I feel better about myself. I want ME back again. I forget what that looks like, but I get glimpses here and there and it makes me want to try harder. I do not want to be this immature and selfish addict stuck in adolescence. I feel much more like a man and an adult when I am in recovery. It is so easy to forget what you lose when you are sober for a while. Who thinks about what they become like that? It's not even on our radar. It is so hard to detect because it seems like it is real when it is happening.

I forced myself to hang out with my mom today. That was good. I needed to do it and I need to do it again. It was kind of boring, and it doesnt have to be, but I think I am just still in this low. I crave stimulation.

Yes, it's stimulation you crave

but you're doing a lot of things right by channeling that craving into tamer kinds of stimulation. These should gradually become more satisfying. Remember, the more intense the stimulation, the less satisfied you feel afterward. Very counter-intuitive.

You've come a long way.

The last week has been a bit

The last week has been a bit low. Not too many exciting peaks in my mood. I know from the past this is normal and a good thing. There is a period of time when I am just low overall, but this is also a time when I am sensitive to extra stimulation. It is compelling when you are low. You want a jolt!

I have two girl roommates. They're cute, but I live with them and they are more like little sisters. How this ended up happening was accidental, but I went with it because it seemed like a decent living arrangement. I was worried at first, but once you live with someone and their quirks, it's easy to see past all the glitter. But, today she brings over one of her friends. I was triggered. Dumb, clueless, 21 year old in shorts just texting away complaining loudly about how stupid her boyfriend is.. and this was a trigger. My rational mind has no say so in any of this. I am fully programmed to respond to this novel fertile mate within arms length of me. So I just decided to hide away back in my room. I win, but it planted the sensation and thought in me. Classical trigger.

One of the things that has been keeping me clean lately is the amount of meetings and work that I need to be emotionally present. I need to perform at my best and it is not happening when I am not sober. I can't even say that I am active in my recovery, but when I am abstinent, this is good enough to at least function. And I always have something on the horizon. Tomorrow I am attending a meeting that my thesis advisor is attending, which has been challenging for a few reasons, some because of my addiction and some because of outside forces, I have an orientation next week. I want to be the person that I am happy and comfortable with. I do not want to be awkward, hungover, and all of that.

Tomorrow I am required to provide input on the direction of one of my advisor's projects. He is not a warm character and despite providing decent work in his class at times, I have also dropped the ball a few times. He responds to me warmly or coldly depending on where I am in my mind. I have had stretches of sobriety and clarity and he has responded well and seemed impressed. I turned in some work one time during a major relapse that he just tore through and jumped on me. At the same time, academically, this man has shaped my thinking and skills in some major ways. SO tomorrow may be alright because my state of mind is doing alright overall. But these are the things that I lose when I relapse. I lose the opportunity to be present and I will act out of insecurity and try to hide things, etc. I don't like being like that. I am reminded of the time that I had the responsibility of teaching a class and it was really good while I was sober, then halfway through, I lose it when I start getting back into my O cycle. I am really good or really bad!

I've been abstinent from PMO for 36 days today. That is the longest I have gone in a couple of years. This is also coming out of a heavy period of acting out, so there is a lot of lingering garbage, but I feel relatively stable. I am definitely feeling the "flat", hard for normal things to stimulate me, but overall I am stable enough to move forward in my activities. Following lists like a maniac too. My work habits and relations aren't inspired, creative, or super effective, but I am showing up and making moderate progress on my tasks. Unfortunately, these tasks involve some high faculties and creativity in an area of research that I am not planning on going into and not skilled for. I selected this experience at a time that I wasn't thinking much and now I am in the thick of it. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I am getting something out of it, but it is painful as well. My supervisor is also inexperienced and lacks important mentoring skills as well. Not the best situation, but I am trying to make the best of it.